Hoover man creates new donut for national chain

Published 12:20 pm Friday, June 19, 2009

Before June 5, Hoover resident Jeff Hager had never won a contest in his life.

That changed in a big way when Dunkin’ Donuts announced Hager as the winner of the company’s first “Create Dunkin’s Next Donut” contest.

Hager created “Toffee for Your Coffee,” a glazed sour cream cake donut topped with chopped chocolate toffee candy. The donut will be sold at Dunkin’ Donuts locations across the country beginning this fall.

Hager said he created the donut on a whim, never imagining it would win.

“We were on the Web site for Dunkin’ Donuts looking for the store finder, and saw the link for the contest and filled out the form,” he said. “I submitted it and I thought it was kind of neat, and didn’t really think much about it after that. Then I got a phone call from Dunkin’, and they told me I was a finalist.”

As one of 12 finalists out of 130,000 entries, Hager was invited to Massachusetts to participate in a donut bake-off to decide the winner. After going through training, Hager made his own donut for four judges, who declared him the winner.

“It was a really exciting experience. We had a lot of fun,” he said. “I’m a huge donut fan, so you ask anybody that knows me, they’ll say, ‘Jeff won a donut contest? That makes a lot of sense.’”

He said the best part was learning more about the company and how donuts are made.

“To learn about something that I really enjoy, like donuts, that’s even more fun, and then to win, that’s the icing on the cake — or the donut, so to speak,” he said.

Since his win was announced, “people have just come out of the woodwork,” Hager said.

“It’s been a lot of fun, and something that has never happened to me before,” he said. “I’ve never won a contest before in my life, and to do it at this level and on this scale has been a lot of fun.”

Hager, who won $12,000 as the contest winner, said his family plans to use the winnings to go to Disney World.

He said he’s happy that his creation has struck a chord with so many other people.

“My dad growing up would always get donuts, and he would have his coffee and would dunk his donut in it. That’s the thing I’ve always associated with donuts,” he said. “That was my creation. It’s pretty simple, but it’s just things I like. I put together things I like, and it turned out other people liked it too.”